July 16, 2008 - Legacy

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Current mood: blessed

I'm going to take a moment tonight to tell you all about my grandma. She was a strong woman with strong views and opinions. She loved her mother and father very much. She made a difference in her community, church, and in my life. She made herself known, wherever she was. She would never sit quitely while someone else spoke ill of anyone. She loved her children and grandchildren with a great passion. She was an Irish Catholic Republican, though a Baptist in her later years, thank goodness.

I loved her and miss her. Very much.

During the times that I found to call her and have a conversation, she would always ask two things: "When are you going back to school?" and "When am I getting another great grandbaby?" I had told her at one point in time that I wasn't sure I wanted kids, and she said that if I didn't, I needed to become a millionarie instead - she was sure that becoming a millionarie was the only other thing that would make me as happy. One is now an easy answer: I'm hoping to go back in August. The other? She may know the answer better than I do.

At her funeral, it took all the nerve I had to wait quietly in the chapel until everyone was gone, including my parents and sister, to practically crawl up to her casket and kneel beside her. I looked directly at her peaceful face and made a deal: "If you help me through when I need you, I promise I'll have that great grandbaby." I asked her to watch over my kitty Toby, who passed a year ago next month. I also asked her to put in a good word for me with God for a healthy baby or two. I then told her something that I never considered until I was kneeling there, smelling her perfume: that I would name my first girl after her mother, to help carry on a great legacy. I think I almost could see a smile across her face. It was the first conversation that she and I had that I felt like she agreed with everything I said.

When I stood, I felt like the entire world was right there - with me and her. In a flash, I was outside and she was gone. A part of my world had quickly crumbled and that moment was more devistating than her death.

That whole night, I lay in bed still smelling her perfume. I tried plugging my nose with my hand, burying my nose in my pillow and even making a pot of coffee so I could smell it brewing. Nothing worked. She was there. It freaked me out a little, so I went into my mother's room to see if she was awake. She was, in fact, and I explained the situation when she asked "Isn't it a little late in the night for coffee, dear?"

I chuckled and like a little girl, I sat on her bed and we cried together for a while. She told me the story about the day that her grandmother died and it was strikingly similar to the situation I was currently in. She told me that sometimes all you need to do to get a guardian angel is to ask for one, and she was sure that my grandmother would deliver. I had my doubts.

I somehow recovered from the most terrible week of my life and made it back to Virginia. Christmas came and went, so did New Years and my birthday. I got a new job and spring started to appear. I talked to my grandma sometimes, but I didn't give it the commitment and attention that she probably now deserved. I was trying to keep it out of my mind so I wouldn't have to think about how painful it was to lose her. Then, she made herself known.

I was driving from Short Pump on my way home from work. I decided to take the I-64, since it was early enough in the day that I wouldn't run into traffic. As I sat at a stop light, two cars in front of me, I reached for my cell phone to check missed calls. The light had subsequetly turned green and the other two cars in front of me had gone. I looked up, noticed the light was green and began to proceed. JUST as I started into the intersection, a car FLEW through across the intersection going way too fast. Before I had a chance to realize that if I hadn't been goofing off and not paying attention to the light I would have been a greasy spot, I smelled my grandmother's perfume. I smelled her just as plain as I did when I visited her on the 4th of July last year and just as I did when I leaned over to kiss her forehead at her funeral. She was there. That guy would have slammed into me, on my side, in my brand new car. She was there, just like I had asked.

I drove home calmly. As I was pulling into my driveway, I burst into the most violent tears that I had ever experienced. I sat in the car a few minutes, went into the house, and frantically and hysterically explained to Jerry what happened. I cried the rest of the night, thanking her and God at random frequent intervals. I couldn't believe what had happened. Indeed, I recovered from that too, and began talking to her more. I started noticing that sometimes when I tossed a thought her way, I could smell that perfume again. I woke a few nights ago and smelled her and thought to myself "Grandma, are you watching me sleep? Cause if you are, thats a little freaky to me." I laughed to myself a little and turned back over. More frequently lately, I've been catching a fleeting drift of that sweet grandma smell - and I didn't put two and two together until today.

Our lives (mine and Jerry's) haven't been the best on the planet lately. We've both been faced with lots of stress and unnecessary upset over the past few weeks. The situations causing the stress are out of our control and have nothing to do with our marriage, the house, or our pets or future children, so don't worry. It's just a time in our lives when things are going wrong. She's here. She's keeping up her end of the deal and she knows what's yet to come in a few years. I'm amazed at what's happening here - this is the first close person to me to pass in a very long time. It's the first time I ever asked for a "guardian."

I wasn't a believer when I looked at her face for the last time, but I'm a believer now. Now my only question is: In a few years, can Grandma control whether we have a girl or not?

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